(BIVN) – The Mauna Loa volcano is not erupting and remains at a WARNING alert level.
“The deformation and seismicity rates at the summit remain elevated and above long-term background levels,” wrote the USGS Hawaii Volcano Observatory in its weekly update. “Other Mauna Loa monitoring data streams do not show significant changes or patterns indicating increased volcanic hazard at this time.”
This week a swarm of earthquakes was detected on the northwestern flank of Mauna Loa. Scientists counted 172 earthquakes in the area from March 29 to March 31 about 3.5 to 5 miles below the surface. The scientists noticed a change in tilt coinciding with the event. HVO wrote:
A tilt meter near the top of Mauna Loa measured a small change in tilt at the same time as the flank swarm. The tilt shift was consistent with the shrinkage at the top and has since stabilized. The contraction is most likely a short-term excursion from the long-term pattern of summit inflation that has been occurring since 2015, in line with the supply of magma to the volcano’s shallow storage system.
Scientists say seismometers recorded a total of 245 small-magnitude earthquakes this week below Mauna Loa. Almost all were less than magnitude 3 and concentrated below the summit and upper elevation flanks of the volcano at depths less than about 5 miles below ground level.
“Gas concentrations (0 ppm SO2) and fumarole temperatures (below 100 degrees Celsius or 212 degrees Fahrenheit) both at the summit and in the Sulfur Cone in the southwestern area of the Rift remain stable.” Wrote the USGS HVO. “Webcam views have shown no change in the volcanic landscape of Mauna Loa over the past week.”
Mauna Loa is the largest active volcano on Earth and has erupted 33 times since 1843. Mauna Loa last erupted in 1984.